What I Wore | Why Blazers Are Better Than Cardigans

author in vintage camel blazer

I learned a very important wardrobe lesson in 2018: blazers are better than cardigans.

To see some definitive proof of this statement, please look at the above and below outfits, which I wore to work today and yesterday, respectively. Paired with blazers, those outfits just work. Try to imagine them instead with cardigans – not as good, right?

I officially fell out of love with cardigans in the fall of 2018 when I went on a shopping trip with the purpose of replacing an old camel colored waterfall cardigan from H&M that had been a core part of my wardrobe for a few seasons, but that was no longer in good condition. At that point, it was the only cardigan that was still part of my regular capsule wardrobe (i.e. not relegated to loungewear, where I do still enjoy a comfy cardigan or two).

I hit up several of my favorite DC consignment shops on that trip. I saw and tried on dozens of cardigans. They all made me feel either too sloppy or too preppy. The only one I did like was an old Everlane chunky wool cardigan that is somewhat similar to the cult-favorite Babaa cardigan. I didn’t buy it because it didn’t really fill the wardrobe niche I wanted, but I think the reason I liked it so much more than the others is because the thick wool gave it a really defined structure.

I hadn’t considered a blazer as a solution to the problem until the owner of the wonderful Etsy vintage shop QuietUnrest approached me about a possible collaboration. She said we could do it whenever I happened to see something in her shop that caught my eye – no rush – but as soon as I laid eyes on this beautiful 1970’s equestrian blazer, I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for.

So much ethical fashion is loose and flowy and shapeless, and while I can appreciate that aesthetic on others, it’s not my personal preference.

I’ve been gravitating heavily toward more structured silhouettes lately. I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that if I just swapped in a blazer every time I was uncomfortable in a cardigan, I’d be so much happier. It can be hard to have those realizations when you feel like there are certain wardrobe items you need to have, like cardigans, black ballet flats, or blue jeans, even if you’ve never particularly loved any of those things.

I didn’t own a single blazer until I was 23 years old and needed one for a job interview – now, I own four (although not that original interview blazer, which was polyester and horrible). I have the vintage camel blazer you see in the photo above, the oversized wool blazer from Everlane, another, more tailored plaid blazer from H&M (shown below), and, my favorite, a vintage linen blazer that I scored off Poshmark in the spring. This little collection has pretty much eradicated any need I thought I once had for cardigans.

Long live the blazer.

blazers vs cardigans 2

Outfit Details:

Outfit 1:

Blazer – QuietUnrest, Vintage (gifted)

Tee – Loyale Studio Style No. 1, black ($68, wearing size XS, gifted)

Jeans – Gap, old (similar here)

Boots – Everlane Day Boot, black ($225, wearing size 6, gifted)

Outfit 2:

Blazer – H&M, old (cool and sustainably made convertible dress option here)

Dress – LOFT, old (similar here)

Tights: Hanes Silky Opaque Tights ($6, wearing size B, I buy mine at CVS)

Boots: Everlane Day Boot

Where do you stand on blazers vs. cardigans?

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3 thoughts on “What I Wore | Why Blazers Are Better Than Cardigans

  1. Maybe you can help me then! I want to be the girl who loves blazers. I want more structure than a cardigan, but not as much structure as a normal blazer. Does such a thing exist? I find normal blazers rather uncomfortable—mostly because they are usually too warm so I have to take them off, and not as wraparound cozy as cardigans. I find cardigans make me feel frumpy though, and while I like the coziness, I can’t find one I love the look of when I try them on. I got the Only Child Alta tunic, and I’d love to figure out what to wear to layer with it, but so far haven’t found a winning combo.

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  2. I’ve actually had the opposite wardrobe epiphany over the past year! I love how blazers look on other people and I love how you style them, but it unfortunately doesn’t translate to my style. I’m team cardigans/dusters but with a couple of rules: the best cardigans/dusters for me are long and open with a good drape. The ones I reach for weekly are Vetta’s black long cardigan, Brass utility dress (worn open as a duster), J Crew’s Juliette sweater-blazer in heather khaki, and Revelle’s linen chestnut duster.

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  3. This is great, because I am 100% team cardigan > blazer. I work in an extemely casual/blue collar environment on the west coast, so blazers read stuffy and uncomfortable on me. I had kept an oversized “boyfriend” blazer for a long time because I thought it was a wardrobe staple, but happily have passed it.

    That being said, I’m super into my Only Child canvas Cardiff/haori style jacket, and I recently got a soft cotton vintage chore jacket that I’m digging as well. As a result I haven’t reached my cardigans nearly as much.

    PS super happy to see that you’re still blogging!

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